vrksha = tree
1. Stand in Mountain (tadasana). Shift your weight slightly onto the right foot, keeping the inner foot firm to the floor, and bend your left knee. Reach down and, with your left hand, clasp your left ankle.
2. Draw your left foot up and place the sole against the inner right thigh. If possible, press the left heel into the inner right groin, toes pointing toward the floor. If this isn’t possible, position the foot lower down on the leg, though never directly against the knee. The right leg should be angled slightly relative to the floor so that the center of your pelvis is directly over the right foot.
3. Rest your hands on the top rim of your pelvis. Make sure the pelvis is in a neutral position, with the top rim parallel to the floor and the two hip points equidistant from the wall opposite you (assuming you’re square to the walls of your practice room).
4. Lengthen your tail bone toward the floor. Firmly press the left sole against the inner thigh (or the inner leg) and resist that pressure with the outer right leg. Touch your palms together in anjali mudra, resting the joined thumbs lightly against the sternum. Gaze at a fixed point in front of you on the floor, about 4 or 5 feet away.
5. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Step back to Mountain with an exhale (the hands touch the hips as the raised foot comes to the floor) and repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed.
Strengthens thighs, ankles, and spine
Stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
Improves sense of balance
- Modifications & Props: You can stand with your back braced against a wall if you feel unsteady in this pose.
- Variations: Stretch your arms straight up toward the ceiling, parallel to each other, palms facing, or touch the palms together forming an inverted V with the arms.
- Preparatory Asanas:
- Follow-up Asanas: Vrksasana is an excellent preparation for any standing pose.
- Beginners Tip: If your raised foot tends to slide down the inner standing thigh, put a folded sticky mat between the raised-foot sole and the standing inner thigh.
- Advanced Tip: As with Tadasana you can challenge your balance by practicing this pose with your eyes closed. Learn to balance without any reference to the outer environment.